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Diversity Incentive Fund

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2022 Informational Webinar Recording

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The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) encourages faculty, staff, students and student organizations to create new opportunities that increase the understanding of, appreciation for, and advocacy of diversity issues at the intersection with our agriculture and life sciences work.

The CALS Diversity Council supports these opportunities through the Diversity Incentive Fund, through which up to $2,000 can be used to develop new, innovative and creative approaches to raise awareness, engage learners, and change behaviors about diversity and inclusion within the academic community, as well as the broader communities we serve.

There are three categories of awards for the 2022-2023 cycle. These include:

  • Research: Research awards should focus on conducting research (e.g. collecting or analyzing data, or creating equitable research opportunities) and/or developing research practices through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
  • Teaching: Teaching awards should focus on teaching practices and/or student- or instructor-focused educational opportunities which address diversity, inclusion, and equity.
  • Extension/Outreach: Extension awards should focus on planning, conducting, and evaluating extension/outreach activities which integrate aspects of diversity, inclusion, and equity for internal and/or external audiences.



Eligibility (Who can apply / be nominated)

Faculty, staff, students, and student organizations may apply. At least one member of the proposed program team must be a current faculty, staff, or student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program of the college at the time of the nomination and for the period of the funded activity. Self-nominations are encouraged. Previous recipients can reapply for funding.

Award Criteria

Examples of programs that may be supported include

  • Hosting lectures, symposia, presentations, and/or performances
  • Convening workshops and conferences
  • Conducting assessments and evaluations
  • Other innovative approaches for addressing diversity as conceived in the CALS Strategic Plan, Departmental Diversity Strategic Plan, and/or Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community.

Proposed activities should have specific connection to the goals of the CALS Strategic Plan and Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community

Selection Criteria (How recipients will be chosen)

A committee made up of members of the CALS Diversity Council will review the applications and make the award selections. The committee will be looking for those opportunities that are innovative, meet a documented need, well-planned, have a good chance for impact, and will engage a significant number of persons. If in the opinion of the Fund Review committee, there are no applications that effectively meet the Fund criteria, the Council reserves the right to not select a recipient in a particular category and make multiple awards in another.


Requests may be made for up to $2,000. The committee intentds to make one award for each category. However, the committee may make multiple  into one category if proposed programs in another category are not considered to $2000.

The fund is not intended for the following:

  • Food
  • Entertainment expenses 
  • Stipends to university employees (including graduate students stipends and undergraduate wage)

Submission Details (What, where, and how)

Applications are due by April 29th, 2022 at 5 pm. Applications will undergo two rounds of review. After the first round, the committee may ask clarifying questions or offer feedback for submitters to consider and modify their proposal. Final selections will be made after a second round of review. Funded proposals will be announced in Summer 2022, so activities or initiatives should be planned for August 2022-June 2023.

Applications must be submitted electronically via Submittable. On this page, click the “Have An Account? Sign In” button. On the next page, type in your VT email and click “Sign In.” This will take you to VT login, if you are not already logged in.

If the application is approved the proposal may be posted on the Diversity Council website. A final report of the funded effort is required and it may also appear on the Diversity Council’s website. This report is due no later than three months after completion of the funded activity. The final report should address:

  1. A narrative of what occurred, with specific descriptions of any parts of the proposed work that were modified. If possible, include pictures or other audio/visual materials. 
  2. Attendance/engagement data
  3. Summary of funds spent in comparison with proposed budget

The questions you will need to answer as part of your application include:

Applicant(s). At least one member of the proposed team needs to be affiliated with the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences; this includes VCE faculty/staff affiliated with VT CALS.

  • Name, organization (college/department/unit/recognized student organization), role/title within organization, and contact information (phone number and email) of primary contact
  • If a student organization, is it registered?
  • Additional collaborators, if any. For each, include their name, organization (college/department/unit/recognized student organization/community organization), their role/title within that organization, and their contact information (phone number and email)


  • What is the name of your activity?
  • Which type of award are you applying for - Research, Teaching, or Extension/Outreach?
  • What is the specific need you will address? When possible, provide data to show this need exists.
  • Please describe your proposed activity. What will you do? What is the timeline? Keep in mind that funds through this award will be available for the following fiscal year. If applicable, describe how the proposed work is connected to or otherwise expands upon past/current work.
  • What is/are the goal(s) of the activity?
  • Who is the target audience? If possible, please estimate the number of people who will engage with the activity.
  • Please upload any figures, tables, and/or images which support your application.


  • Anticipated expenses funded through this award (itemize and briefly explain how you determined this cost and why it is necessary for the success of your activity).


  • What impact do you expect the proposed activity will have on participants?
  • How do you expect the proposed will make progress towards VT and CALS Strategic Plan goals. If possible, list specific values and/or goals.

Previous Winners


  • C. Watkins, M. Schwarz, & K. Rouse. Diversity in Aquaculture: A Panel Discussion Series
  • D. Westfall Rudd, H. Scherer, K. Claflin, & E. Bonnett. Supporting and Engaging Transgender Individuals in Agriculture and Extension Education
  • D. Edwards & J. Czuba. 2021 ASABE Southeast Rally Travel Scholarships for HBCE Students


  • S. Misyak & N. Cook. Accessing Racial Equity in Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program (the SNAP-Ed implementing agency for Virginia

Contact Information

Erin Ling, CALS Diversity Council Chair. 540-231-9058,
Karen Barnhart, CALS Diversity Council Recording Secretary. 540-231-5659,

Chevon Thorpe, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, (540) 232-8702,

This webpage was last updated April 17th, 2022.


Chair, Diversity Council

Vice Chair, Diversity Council

Karen Barnhart
Recording Secretary, Diversity Council

Chevon N. Thorpe
Assistant Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
1350 Litton-Reaves Hall, Virginia Tech
175 West Campus Drive
(540) 232-8702